Solved Paper of General Studies Paper-4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2018
Q1- (a) State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance. (150 words)10
The three important values for civil servant are as following.
A civil servant must have integrity. The word integrity means not only honesty but also ‘adherence to moral and ethical principles and soundness of moral character.’ If you have integrity, you get trust of the people and you can perform best in any organization.
Courage is an important virtue of civil servants because they have to take tough decisions against criminals, corrupt people, politicians and often their own superiors. They must have the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation by the criminals.
A civil servant must be objective i.e. he must not have any bias or prejudice for or against any person or group. He must not get influenced by personal feelings, experiences, or opinions. He must take decision based on the evidences, documents, data and information available on records. This attitude build credibility of a person and give consistency in his actions. (160 words)
(b) Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. (150 words) 10
‘Code of Ethics’ and ‘Code of Conduct’ of an organization presents the standards which the members of the organizations must stick to. The code of ethics represents a set of principles which influence the judgement of the person. It describes the core values of the organization that guides the decision-making. It provides ethical standards which are to be followed by the members.
Code of Conduct are the actual set of rules issued by the organization that provides do (s) and don’t (s) to govern the actions of a person. All the members must stick to these codes to remain the member of the organization or profession. If the member violate these provisions, actions may be taken against them.
The code of ethics may include the values like honesty, political neutrality, impartiality which must guide an officer while taking a decision. The code of conduct may include provisions like not taking a gift from a person having official dealing and not joining a political party etc. (165 words)
Q2- (a) What is mean by public interest? What are the principles and procedures to be followed by the civil servants in public interest? (150 words) 10
Public interest means the welfare or well-being of the general public in contrast to the selfish interest of a person, group, or firm. The principles and procedures may be listed as following:-
1: Principle of Participation
People must participate in decision making of the government. Draft proposals may invite public opinion before they are finalized.
2: Principle of Charity
The government resource should be distributed in a way that can benefit the largest number of people of the society.
3: Principle of subsidiarity
The decisions should be taken as close as possible to the communities involved and not at the top level.
4: Principle of autonomy
The government must allow the people to live the life in their own way. A civil servant must not impose his own values on others and he must have respect for the plurality of the people.
5: Principle of transparency
All the decision making of the civil servant must be transparent and state the reasons for taking the decision. (165 words)
(b) “The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss. (150 words) 10
RTI Act empowers citizen to seek information from any public authority. However, once the information is available to the public, they are free to use it in any way. If they find that the decision taken by the public servant is arbitrary, biased or not in accordance with the law or public interest, they can approach the appropriate forum like Courts, Media and even the senior officers or ministers to expose the mischief of the officer.
In the earlier times, the officers were accountable only to their own superior, but with RTI, they have been accountable to multiple institutions and the public at large. Hence, even though the government officers has taken the decision based on the orders of the superior officer or a minister, he still can’t escape responsibility to the public as he has to take responsibility of each of his decision. Thus the RTI Act has redefined the concept of accountability in India. (156 words)
Q3-(a) What is mean by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. (150 words) 10
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests and serving one interest could involve working against another. Usually, it relates to situations in which the personal interest of an individual or organization might adversely affect a duty owed to make decisions for the benefit of a third party. A conflict of interest exists if the circumstances are reasonably believed to create a risk that a decision may be unduly influenced by other and not on whether a particular individual is actually influenced by a secondary interest.
If a public official in heading an interview board for a post and one of his close relative is an applicant, the personal relationship may influence the judgement over the merit of the candidate. The potential conflict of interest may arise if a person is directly reporting to his spouse in an office and hence his personal relationship has a potential to affect the official duties. (162 words)
(b) “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they do not have the first, the other two will kill you.” – Warren Buffett
What do you understand by this statement in the present-day scenario? Explain. (150 words) 10
The performance of an organization depends not only on the individual brilliance of the employees, but also on their team work. The desirable qualities of an employee is integrity, intelligence and energy. Integrity means not only honesty but also qualities like walking the talk, trustworthiness and integrating oneself with others. Intelligent is the ability to understand a problem and find solution of the complex problems of the organization. Energy means enthusiasm and hard work of the employee. Intelligence and energy represent the power of the employee while integrity gives it the direction. If the direction is not right, the power can become destructive and damage the organization.
It is, therefore, important that the employees of an organisaiton must have integrity. When people have integrity, they trust each other and work for the interest of the organization rather than on selfish interest. This reduces the conflicts between people in an organization and maximizes the happiness and performance of the employees. (159 words)
Q4-(a) “In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging his/her duties. (150 words) 10
A public servant must perform his duties and responsibilities in accordance with rules, laws and procedures laid down by the government. The rules sets the boundaries beyond which the public servants must not venture. There are penalties if his actions violate the law.
A public servant must work in the larger public interest and use the law and a guideline as a tool to perform his duties. If someone perform a work which may not be provided specifically in the law book, but not prohibited, it is not a violation of the law. For example, if the law says that you must come to the office at 10 AM and not leave before 6 PM, it is prohibited for an employee to come after 10 AM or leave before 6 PM. However, if one comes before 10 AM and work after 6 PM i.e. work more than what is prescribed, he delivers more than his duties in the public interest without violating any law of the land. (167 words)
(b) With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your answer. (150 words) 10
Some people believe that end Justifies means. However, many wise people don’t agree. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "’Means are, after all, means.’ I would say, ‘Means are, after all, everything.’ As is the means, so is the end.”
In my view, means are as important as the ends. If good ends are attempted to be achieved by following evil means, they can hardly survive. It is often easy for the public servants to produce quick results by following evil means like curbing the crime by false encounter of the criminals. However, such actions often backfire. If it is proven that an encounter was false, the police officers may be arrested and dismissed from service. This leads to increase in the criminal activities and people refuse to believe the police even when they are doing the right things.
It is prudent to follow the right means to achieve the right end by following the due process of law. (157 words)
Q5-(a) Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in a mountain valley bond by forests and inhabited by ethnic communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with unforeseen contingencies? (150 words) 10
When a dam is built on a mountain bound by forest, it is sure to displace a large number of local inhabitants. They had been living in the area for generations and it would be difficult for them to find an alternative place and means of livelihood. The Government of India must prepare a proper rehabilitation policy for the local people which may include the following components.
• They may be given site plots or buildup houses at nearby places commensurate with their land mass.
• Locals should be provided means to develop their own traditional art and culture in every way.
• They must be given fair compensation for their land and property.
• One adult member of each family may be given employment during the developmental activity.
• Resettlement should be in the neighborhood of their own environment.
• They should be educated, through public meetings, discussion about the legalities and convinced about the benefits of these projects. (154 words)
(b) Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public Administration. (150 words) 10
The ethical decision making must follow a process that starts with identification of the problem and ends with its resolution. The following steps may be taken for resolution of an ethical dilemma.
1. Analyse the problem in detail to understand the implication of its impact on individual and the society.
2. Get the right facts from different source and by conducting proper investigations. A public servant must not act on rumours or on the basis of heresy or fake news.
3. Once the facts are known, find out the moral and ethical norms violated. An ethical dilemma arises when two or more ethical principles are conflicting with each other.
4. Thereafter, you must analyze different alternatives which can be used in the given situation.
5. You must then take the decision by following the ethical principles that is more important in the given situation and is most beneficial. Implement the decision on ground. (153 words)
Q6-What do each of the following quotations mean to you in the present context?
(a) “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. ”Abraham Lincoln ( 150 words)10
In the world of fiction, the good and the evil are spreadable and clearly differentiable. In a movie, one can easily identify the heroes and the villains which represent good and evil characters in the film. However, in the real world, good and evil are found together in every person and in every action. Therefore, whenever a policy is made, it benefits some people while adversely affect some other people. For example, when the factories, roads or damns are made, the local people are displaced and they suffer. However, the same action benefits society and the country. The best decision is one that has maximum good and minimum evil for the society as a whole.
When a decision is taken, the outcome is not known and hence the decision is often criticized for the negatives is may bring rather than the benefits it contains. Hence, the government must take the decision that is useful to the society even if it may cause discomfort to some people. (166 words)
(b) “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “ Mahatma Gandhi (150 words) 10
It is not easy to know the reality as it is. Most of us see the reality as we are. Our vision is tainted by our biases, prejudices and self-interest. As everyone has their own biases and different interest, they see the world differently and understand it differently.
When people don’t see the world in the same manner, misunderstanding arises which leads to anger. The story of five blind men understanding an elephant by touching it and finding it a rope, wall, fan, pillar and snake illustrate how people can find the same thing different due to their limited understanding.
If we truly understand, there is no reason to get angry. A French proverb says this beautifully, ‘To understand all is to forgive all.’ When we are angry, we wish to harm the person with whom we are angry with and this closes the possibility of any understanding. Only when we have tolerance, we can know the different perspective and develop true understanding of anything. (165 words)
(c) “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.” _ Tirukkural (150 words)10
Truth is the expression of reality as it is while falsehood is an untruth spoken to achieve a particular end. Most people speak lie for personal gain or to cheat others. However, sometime a lie can be for the benefit of the other person or even for the entire society. For example, if parents praises the child’s performance which may not be entirely true, it boosts the confidence of the child and motivates him to do even better next time. However, speaking truth bluntly to a child that his drawing or academic performance is poor may break the heart of the child and cause harm to his future.
In the same way, some of the falsehood may be highly beneficial to the society. The moral values expressed using the divine characters in Scriptures or magnifying the greatness of our heroes often motivate people to give their best which provide tremendous benefit to the society. Such falsehood often replaces truth because it is more useful to the society. (167 words)
Q7- Rakesh is a responsible district level officer, who enjoys the trust of his higher officials. Knowing his honesty, the government entrusted him with the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under a health care scheme meant for senior citizens.
The criteria to be a beneficiary are the following:
(a) 60 years of age or above.
(b) Belonging to a reserved community.
(c) Family income of less than 1 Lakh rupees per annum.
(d) Post-treatment prognosis is likely to be high to make a positive difference to the quality of life of the beneficiary.
One day, an old couple visited Rakesh’s office with their application. They have been the residents of a village in his district since their birth. The old man is diagnosed with a rare condition that causes obstruction in the large intestine. As a consequence, he has severe abdominal pain frequently that prevents him from doing any physical labour. The couple has no children to support them. The expert surgeon whom they contacted is willing to do the surgery without charging any fee. However, the couple will have to bear the cost of incidental charges, such as medicines, hospitalization, etc., to the tune of rupees one lakh. The couple fulfils all the criteria except criterion ‘b’. However, any financial aid would certainly make a significant difference in their quality of life.
How should Rakesh respond to the situation? (250 words) 20
A government officer is duty bound to follow the law, rules and procedures while taking any decision. It is clear that in this case the benefit of the health care scheme was meant only for a person belonging to a reserved category. In this matter, no discretion has been given to the government officer to waive off the condition and provide the benefit to a person of unreserved category. Hence, in this case Rakesh should not use his power to provide the medical benefit to the old couple against the law. He may, however, take the following measures to help the old couple.
1. The couple may bear the cost themselves to whatever extent possible and their relatives may be requested to help them, if they can’t afford the full cost of treatment.
2. He may find out the government schemes that are available to unreserved category and refer his case to such department and personally request the officer to take care of them. In this way, some medical cost can be managed from the government.
3. He may raise some funds for the treatment of the old couple. He must first contribute some of his own funds and then request his friends and relatives to contribute for the same.
4. He may highlight this case in the media and make a public appeal for funds using online payment, PayTm etc.
5. He can also approach NGOs dealing with the medical care of old people and request them to partially fund the cost. (253 words)
Q8- As a senior officer in the Ministry, you have access to important policy decisions and upcoming big announcements such as road constructions projects before they are notified in the public domain. The Ministry is about to announce a mega road project for which the drawings are already in place. Sufficient care was taken by the planners to make use of the government land with the minimum land acquisition from private parties. Compensation rate for private parties was also finalized as per government rules. Care was also taken to minimize deforestation. Once the project is announced, it is expected that there will be a huge spurt in real estate prices in and around that area. Meanwhile, the Minister concerned insists that you realign the road in such a way that it comes closer to his 20 acres farmhouse. He also suggests that he would facilitate the purchase of a big plot of land in your wife name at the prevailing rate which is very nominal, in and around the proposed mega road project. He also tries to convince you by saying that there is no harm in it as he is buying the land legally. He even promises to supplement your savings in case you do not have sufficient funds to buy the land. However, by the act of realignment, a lot of agricultural lands has to be acquired, thereby causing a considerable financial burden on the government, and also the displacement of the farmers. As if this is not enough, it will involve cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover.
Faced with this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interest and explain what your responsibilities are as a public servant. (250 words) 20
A public servant must always act in the public interest and perform his duties in the interest of the nation. The life of a public servant is open for public scrutiny. If you buy a big plot of land in the name of your wife as suggested by the minister, this fact can’t be concealed for long. You have to declare the source of funds before buying the land even in the name of your wife according to the Conduct Rules for the civil servants. It would be almost impossible to justify taking a loan or a favour from the minister to buy a land under your own jurisdiction for which government is planning a mega road project. This will be a clear case of conflict of interest since the minister and your wife would be a direct beneficiary of your decision as a government authority. Hence, if you follow the advice of the minister, you are almost certainly face corruption charges in future.
The action is also wrong from ethical point of view. If the suggested realignment is done, it is going to increase the financial burden of the government and cause the displacement of the farmer. It would also cause immense damage to environment since large number of trees are to be cut. The loss to the nation is thus far more than the loss to the farmers and the nation. Such action would reduce the sum total of the happiness of the society and violate the principle of utilitarian.
Hence, you must refuse to follow the advice of the minister and perform your duties according to the law in the public interest. (275 words)
Q9-It is a State where prohibition is in force. You are recently appointed as the Superintendent of Police of a district notorious for illicit distillation of liquor. The illicit liquor leads to many death, reported and unreported, and causes a major problem for the district authorities.
The approach till now had been to view it as a law and order problem and tackle it accordingly. Raids, arrest, police cases, and criminal trials – all these had only limited impact. The problem remains as serious as ever.
Your inspections show that the parts of the district where the distillation flourishes are economically, industrially and educationally backward. Agriculture is badly affected by poor irrigation facilities. Frequent clashes among communities gave boost to illicit distillation. No major initiatives had taken place in the past either from the government’s side or from social organizations to improve the lot of the people.
Which new approach will you adopt to bring the problem under control? (250 words) 20
The main responsibility of the police is to ensure law and order. Hence, the primary task a SP of the District is to ensure that illegal activities are curbed and the rule of law in enforced in the district. Hence, all the people involved in the illegal distillation of the liquor must be arrested and their property must be seized according to the law so that they are unable to restart the activity.
Once the illegal production of liquor would stop, it stops the avenue to make fast money by the locals. The economic condition of the district is likely to improve gradually since most of the liquor produced may be consumed locally, which may be harming the health and the financial conditions of the local population. The illegal production of liquor also generate a large amount of illegal money that increases living expenses and crime in the society. Once such people are behind the bar, living would become much more affordable and peaceful.
The law and order situation of the district is likely to improve once the liquor production stops and the criminals are send behind the bars. This is sure to improve the business environment of the district.
You can then coordinate with different government department and the local politicians to get a suitable business policy framed for this backward area so that external investments can pour in your district and people get productive employment and improve their economic conditions. (242 words)
Q10- A big corporate house is engaged in manufacturing industrial chemicals on a large scale. It proposes to set upon the additional unit. Many states rejected its proposal due to the detrimental effect on the environment. But one state government acceded to the request and permitted the unit close to a city, brushing aside all opposition.
The unit was set up 10 years ago and was in full swing till recently. The pollution caused by the industrial effluents was affecting the land, water and crops in the area. It was also causing serious health problems to human beings and animals. This gave rise to a series of agitation thousands of people took part, creating a law and order problem necessitating stern police action. Following the public outcry, the State government ordered the closure of the factory.
The closure of the factory resulted in the unemployment of not only those workers who were engaged in the factory but also those who were working in the ancillary units. It also very badly affected those industry which depended on the chemicals manufactured by it.
As a senior officer entrusted with the responsibility of handling this issues, how are you going to address it? (250 words) 20
It is difficult for a country or a State to develop without business and industry. Industries employ people and create prosperity in the local region. In addition to the direct employment in the industry, many more people get employment in supporting business activities like transport and hospitality sector. The ancillary companies related with any major industry also provide large scale employment. Hence, closure of an industry causes unemployment diminishing of business activities in the area. Moreover, if a well-established industry is closed due to public protest, often supported by the rival political parties, it also deters other businesses to invest in the state causing further damage to the economy of the state.
A senior government officer must try to take a holistic view of the situation and work for the long term growth of the society. The following measures may be taken to overcome the situation.
1. Factory owner must be asked to install the best effluent treatment plant to treat the harmful chemicals produced in the factory.
2. Talk to the representatives of the local people and inform them of the measures taken by the factory owner.
3. Form a supervising committee including public representatives, company’s representatives and experts from reputed organizations like IITs to ensure that the harmful effluents are not discharged by the factory.
4. Create awareness through the social and electronic media about the measures taken by the government to control effluents and the benefits of restarting the company for the people and the state.
5. Provide safety and security of the factory, plant and machinery and to the factory workers who are willing to come back and join their duties. (275 words)
Q11- Dr X is a leading medical practitioner in a city. He has set up a charitable trust through which he plans to establish a super-specialty hospital in the city to cater to the medical needs of all sections of the society. Incidentally, that part of the State had been neglected over the years. The proposed hospital would be a boon for the region.
You are heading the tax investigation agency of that region. During an inspection of the doctor’s clinic, your officers have found out some major irregularities. A few of them are substantial which had resulted in considerable withholding of tax that should be paid by him now. The doctor is cooperative. He undertakes to pay the tax immediately.
However, there are certain other deficiencies in his tax compliance which are purely technical in nature. If these technical defaults are pursued by the agency, considerable time and energy of the doctor will be diverted to issues which are not so serious, urgent or even helpful to the tax collection process. Further, in all probability, it will hamper the prospects of the hospital coming up.
There are two options before you:
1) Taking a broader view, ensure substantial tax compliance and ignore defaults that are merely technical in nature.
2) Pursue the matter strictly and proceed on all fronts, whether substantial or merely technical.
As the head of the tax agency, which course of action will you opt and why? (250 words) 20
The primary job of a tax department is to collect the taxes as legitimately due on any taxpayer. Government has however made certain procedures for the collection of the taxes so that their taxes are assessed and paid in time. However, the violation of procedures is of much lesser consequence than the evasion of taxes.
In this case, the taxpayer has owned up the tax liability and shown willingness to pay all the taxes. It is also clear that the defaults are mainly technical in nature. Hence, the tax collector must take a broader view in this matter and ask the taxpayer to make payment of his tax liability. The tax agency can impose minimum fine and penalty prescribed in the law for the technical violations, if necessary.
It is, therefore, not advisable to strictly interpret the law and proceed in all fronts. The tax department should have holistic vision and must not close his eyes to the charitable purpose of the assessee which can benefits large number of people in the area. Dr X must not be forced to waste lots of his time for fighting tax cases rather than devoting his time for the charitable activities and serving the nation.
The tax department should not waste its time and energy on activities that are merely procedural in nature and unlikely to fetch any additional revenue to the government. The same time and energy should be used for the activities like collection of intelligence, conduct of raid against tax evaders and assessment of major taxpayers, which can add revenue for the government. (263 words)
Q12- Edward Snowden, a computer expert and former CIA administrator, released confidential Government documents to the press about the existence of Government surveillance programmes. According to many legal experts and the US Government, his action violated the Espionage act of 1971, which identified the leak of State secret as an act of treason. Yet, despite the fact that he broke the law, Snowden argued that he had a moral obligation to act. He gave a justification for his “whistle blowing” by stating that he had a duty “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
According to Snowden, the Government’s violation of privacy had to be exposed regardless of legality since more substantive issues of social action and public morality were involved here. Many agreed with Snowden. Few argued that he broke the law and compromised national security, for which he should be held accountable.
Do you agree that Snowden’s actions were ethically justified even if legally prohibited? Why or why not? Make an argument by weighing the competing values in this case (250 words) 20
There is no doubt that the acts of Snowmen was illegal according to the Espionage Act of 1971 which makes the leakage of the State Secret as an Act of treason. However, his actions can’t be said to be ethical as well. He has stolen the data which was in his custody and all types of theft are unethical. He has also broken the trust of his colleagues who trusted him to keep the information confidential according to philosophy of the organization.
He defended his act on the ground of public interest claiming the violation of the privacy of the citizens. He claimed to act as a whistleblower by releasing the information to the press about the surveillance of the citizen. He shared all information about surveillance and it is certain that many people kept under surveillance must have been noted criminals, terrorists, corrupt bureaucrats and drug smugglers. Thus he has caused great harm to the national interest.
Surveillance by government is a well-known fact and citizens know very well that Governments keep surveillance on them and have access of many personal information. There is hardly any government in the world, which does not keep eye on its citizen to ascertain their activities and take suitable measures to prevent crimes, anti-national and terrorist activities.
Therefore, the act of Sowden can’t be justified either on the legal ground or on the moral ground. Even if leakage of information has brought some public awareness among the people, it has brought down the image of FBI and America, who trusted Sowden to perform his job in a professional manner. (266 words)